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Colonial legacy

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Introduction

In this essay I will attempt to give a brief background on European colonisation in Africa by defining decolonisation along with colonisation, why European powers established clolonial empires in Africa and the Impact of colonialism on African states (colonial legacy). I will further on state the weaknesses of African states which are mainly political, economical, social and how African leaders attribuate them to European declolonisation which mainly happened between the 1950s and 1960s, then finally how African propects can be improved. Decolonisation is the surrendering of political sovereignity among other things over the people of Africa and the emergence of independent nation-states where once European administrators and settlers had ruled supreme. (Darwin J- Britain and Decolinisation 1988 Pg 8). Colonisation is the establishment of a colony in another country or place and the idea of colonization when European powers navigated and axplored around the world as far back as the 15th century. Europe's contact with Africa was through missionaries, traders and explores. However, it be interesting to find out why the European powers later on established colonial empires since their earliers intentions seem to be innocent and for good cause. Was it part of a civilizing mission, as some of the colonialist claim? Or was it for the purposes of trade, conducted for mutual benefit of colonizer and colonized? Or was it for economic gain and exploitation, or were strategic considerations paramount? The answers to these questions depend on many factors of which I will attempt to explain further below. ...read more.

Middle

Accorss the continent you find declining economicies, ginding poverty, civil stife, corruption, crop failures, hungry and starving people, spreading diseases, overcrowding and deteriorating cicities, massive unemployment and growing numbers of refugees. (McWilliam & Piotrowski, 6th edn 2005 pg 269) Many African leaders are quick to blame a century of European colonialism for many of the Africa's problems. Firstly, economic backwardness in most African states could be linked with the economic system inherited by the new African nations from their colonial powers, it is evident that this system had been designed for export rather than for producing goods and services for domestic consumption. Moreover, the export - oriented economy of each colony was directly linked with the former colonial power instend of with it's African neighbours. (McWilliam & Piotrowski, 6th edn 2005 pg 269). Other examples for Africa's economic and political problems due to decolonisation are attribuated to foreign dormination for example the external pressure for economic reform for African states directly from the world bank by the end of 1970s. It stated to replace project loans to debtor less-developed countries with new 'structual' and 'sectional' adjustment facilities (structural and development Programme - SAP). The world bank was supported by the IMF, other multilateral financial institutions and western bilateral aid agencies - made the grant and disbursement of development aid conditional upon the applicant country making change to the economic policy. Many African leaders found the conditions hard to stomach and considered them as a form of undermining there independence and racism. ...read more.

Conclusion

African states like Botswana and Mauaritus have adopted a more liberal approach in their economies which has benefited them a lot. As Gordon Brown has pointed out, badly managed globalization will lead to the marginalization of millions of people: but if managed wisely, it can lift millions out of poverty suggest that there is now a heightened awareness among western leaders of development problems in Africa. Opportunities for them to co-operate in promoting African development are eveident from a few initiatives taken e.g in 2001 the president of South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria put forward the Millenium African Plan (MAP). This plan seeks the help of the IFIs and western governments to achieve and sustain the GDP growth rate for Africa of 7% a year for the next 15 years. Also the plan commits African rulers to fufil the conditions for aid laid out by western powers namely respect for human rights, the promotion of democracy. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) has also been suggested. However, the prospects of a meaningful 'New Parntnership' emerging are remote. Given Africa's marginalization in the global economy, the relationship on Africa's side is bound to be a heavily dependant one. In conclusion, what Africa desperately needs from the West are; fair terms of trade, generous development aid and speedy provision of debt relief. The outcomes for the former colonies were mixed many were unprepared for the independence and suffered many changes in government from democracy to military dictarship, from economic independence to economic backwardness. ...read more.

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